is the spice of life … but is it so in HRD? A discussion on the convenience
of defining the discipline
Cascón-Pereira & Mireia Valverde, Universitat Rovira i Virgili,
objective of this paper is to question whether it is really necessary (and
for whom) to arrive at a shared definition of HRD. In order to reach this
objective, the authors of this paper review the contributions made to HRD
by authors coming from different perspectives. The perspectives are classified
in this paper under the general headings of orthodox vs. unorthodox, and
individual/ organisational/ societal level in order to have a criterion
to operationalise the discussion. For each perspective, the authors consider
the contributions made to HRD by the perspective in question, and then
assess whether or not they can be considered as models within the discipline
or simply as issues, topics or focuses of research of HRD.
The discussion section of this paper summarises the contents reviewed in
the previous sections trying to make sense of the state of the discipline,
with particular emphasis on the provision of definitions. This summary
serves as the basis to discuss the following considerations:
too early in the discipline's development to try to confine all its possible
practice and research into a very static and somehow narrow definition?
such definitions act as an inhibitor for the natural future development
of the young HRD?
in the specific interest of any agent (academics and practitioners) to
avail of such definition?
HRD with a definition would provide it with further internal consistency,
yet would it devoid it from external validity?
presented at the 5th conference on human resource development research
and practice across Europe: International, comparative and cross-cultural
dimensions of HRD. University of Limerick, 27-28 May 2004 (Abstract; full
paper incl. in CD-ROM).